tv Book TV After Words CSPAN June 16, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
to get the injured veterans back to work it would ease the pain. the book genesis was a list of every person who contacted the state related to having lost a leg or the use of a limb and the names of the veteran company and regimen and what county neighbor from and everywhere you could find a document related to there correspondence with the state. . .
journey of self discovery, the challenges everything and know about drugs in society. in it, dr. hart combines a memoir of growing up in a poor neighborhood with studies of drug use and their supplies and conclusions. the program is about an hour. >> welcome to "after words." i am juan williams. today dr. carl hart high price in your scientists journey of self discovery that challenges every thing you know about drugs and society. dr. hart is a member of the national advisory council on drug abuse and is also an associate professor of
psychology and psychiatry at columbia university. he is a board member of a college on problems of drug dependency and has conducted 22 years of research in the pharmacology and science of drug addiction welcome to "after words." this is a fascinating book. let me say up front it is your personal story as well as the work or the result of your work on science. but the heart and soul i would say, and if i'm wrong i hope he will tell me is if you are saying you know what you estimated 20 plus million americans who do illegal drugs. >> guest: i don't estimate. the national government conduct a survey every year and this has been known for some time there's 20 plus million who use drugs on a regular basis. >> and then you also said over the generations over time people have always used drugs. >> guest: people have always
used drugs and will always. that is a fact. birds fly and men get high. you're point in writing this book as a scientist is that given these realities, the impact drugs have on social policy, on race and the culture is oftentimes distorted by a lack of evidence based thinking that instead people rely on anecdotes or fear, rather than on the fact is. is that the heart and soul of this book? >> guest: one of the things troubling me is they have been used as scapegoats whenever there are social problems and so forth we use drugs as a scapegoat. the problem for me is that people that look like me are often speak voted more than other folksy and as a scientist
who knows the facts about drugs, that's very disturbing. >> host: i would think as a black person that would be very disturbing. let's try to understand something that is race related in this regard then you say is just an outrage. the 1980's and the crack cocaine use, and you say people identify this as a black community problem but in fact more whites use crack than blacks and similarly more blacks went to jail arrested for crack and whites were using the drugs. how do you explain that? >> guest: i explain it by its kind of symbol. the short answer is racism, and just as a new -- when i say racism, what we do is put our
police resources and colors, primarily black communities. and you can easily catch people doing something illegal, no matter what. i drive my car for example i sometimes passed the speed limits. if they want, they can give me a ticket and that doesn't happen because the resources are not where i met most of the time. i hang out on the upper west side. but if you want to catch people doing crimes, you put your police resources into those communities and that is what happened. this isn't new. one of the things like the crack cocaine thing it's important to know in the early 1900's, cocaine was used by a wide number of americans, it was and coca-cola for example and a number of product.
black folks being a new southern menace, they are a new southern menace and the way that cocaine was talked about, or black people being under the influence of cocaine was talked about was that caused them to be more murderous. all this nonsense is going on then and now all of the language has been tempered but drugs are such easy scapegoats because most of the population don't use drugs. you can't say these things about alcohol, even though alcohol is pharmacologically active and just like any other drug you can't say these crazy things about alcohol because many people drink alcohol and know the effects of alcohol.
if fewer people use cocaine and so you can tell these incredible stories about cocaine. >> host: you think it is still the case today that you can come out anywhere else and say people who use cocaine dena superhuman strength or as that "new york times" article said if you shoot me in my leg and i won't feel it if i use cocaine i think everyone would say you're crazy. >> guest: let's go back a few years ago there was an incident in miami where this guy, they called it does on the incident he chewed off the face of another guy and originally the report is that the person was on bath salts, a new drug. so whenever there is a new drug or form of drug, you can say these incredible stories about the drug and be believed and was that bath salts caused him to choose this dice face-off. in the toxicology when we
checked to see what was in this person's system, there was no basalt. the only thing that was in his system was marijuana, and not that marijuana was even in the system -- not that he had recently smoked marijuana, we just know that it was in the system. now, so with crack cocaine the things we set about crack cocaine 1980's, we said that it caused this incredible amount of violence. we couldn't have said that about powder cocaine because a number of americans were using powdered cocaine particularly americans who were middle class. as we have to have a new route smoking it, the powder cocaine caused these effects and we believe that as a country in part because we thought it was something new when in fact they are the same drug. >> host: if you're saying something new leads to this
reaction there isn't really anything new. there aren't any new drugs on the scene. that is a myth for the most part. many of them have been with us forever. >> host: i hear about the new drugs and idled know all the names but the drugs people take and there are more chemical compounds than marijuana. >> guest: let's just think about it, think about with amphetamine. people act like that's a new drug that's been around since the early 1900's we think that ecstasy in the early 2000's people discover that they thought that this was something new. it wasn't. it's been with us since 1912. some of these compounds have been with us it's just they get a new group of users and that is a group that we despised, that is a recipe for the hysteria that we see. >> host: let's come back to the i think central point of the
book that lots of americans use illegal drugs and your argument isn't for drug legalization. by the way, people would have, president obama, george bush and bill clinton and you say these are people who've acknowledged drug use that have gone on to do great things and you point out as you just did they were not caught up in a network of police arrested connaughton times the real success in america. now when you look at the use of illegal drugs coming you're point again, for education, and you talk about the idea that people should know what's in a cycle active drug before they get involved, and one of your argument that i found fascinating is most people who use illegal drugs are not at
that, it doesn't interfere with parenting or work or relationships. i think most americans if they heard this they would say but dr. hart, you are taking away all of the - and here we want our kids to fear and it might be better to say don't do drugs. they don't do drugs and suffer consequences why isn't it a better given what you said the police and the networks of crime that then attached why wouldn't you say. >> guest: i am a professor and one of the things i think is most important is to teach people how to think and so when you say don't do drugs or just say no, there is no sort of thinking going on. now if you have a curious kid which you would hope you would
have. my issue is why not give the kid the proper education? so if they choose to indulge, many will not but if they do options, they will be saved. number one. so i have a 12-year-old and about an 18-year-old and of course they are in that age group where you worry that my kids i worry far more about the environment which we have created surrounding drugs, the history of because the environment allows police officers to look at my kids like they fit the description. i fear that interaction, my kids interaction with the police a helluva lot more than i few the interaction of my kid with drugs because i can teach them about drugs because i know that drug affect our predictable but this intersection, that is not
predictable. >> host: both could be avoided by avoiding drug use. >> guest: certainly. my kids might avoid it, but the point is there are kids who won't and so if they do not avoid it, at least you are keeping them safe by having them have the education and giving them the correct information. not only teaching them about drugs but teaching them critically how to evaluate information and that is what we value and that is what i tell you as a professor. that's one thing. when you talked about legalization. one of the things i want to make clear is yeah i'm not encouraging legalization. i'm for decriminalization so it looks like this. what you dubious -- drugs are still illegal but when people are caught instead of having the criminal record, they are -- they receive a civil fine just like they what they have a driving violation. and that way you get rid of this
notion or impact on their future if they get caught the point of the criminal record and they can maybe go on to become president but as long as they are illegal, that is less likely. >> host: in this but you talk about your own experiences. you talk about marijuana and cocaine and look at you coming you've become extraordinarily successful by any measure and you say again that most drug users are not going to be involved in crime also use the addiction and crime are related and most drug users aren't going to get involved in criminal activity. you said most have full-time jobs. so, what's the difference then if you are talking to your son and not to me and you say what's
the difference between the smart way to use illegal drugs and the dumb way? >> one of the things you have to do, even using drugs from their physician, they should know what the effect are. for example if they take an amphetamine one of the things they are good at doing is keeping you awake. sleep is a central function for human behavior and physiology. if your sleep is disrupted too much you can have all kind of problems, a wide range of disorders associated with sleep disruption so you want to make sure that you are not taking it near bedtime and if you are taking antonin you are getting the proper amount of sleep. if we think about something like heroin one of the things we have failed as a country is to properly educate people about say heroin overdose the country
thinks it is relatively easy to o.d. from here when the problem becomes when heroin is mixed with another sedative like alcohol. 70% of the overdose does occur in combination with something like alcohol. given that that is the case, the public health message is clear don't use heroin in combination with another set of. if you blast the message out to the public you could save another life. let's think about other drugs. let's think about cocaine. one of the things we know is that cocaine is cut and it is an animal the warmer. one of the sides is it decreases white blood cells and it decreases the ability to fight
off infections and extreme cases they die so given that that is the case you to make sure people understand if you are using cocaine a large percentage of it now is covered with limassol. you might want to stay away from that. >> host: you might want to stay away from -- >> guest: from the cocaine on the streets because of what it's being cut with or you might want to know what it's being cut with because in many cases they are more problematic than the drugs themselves with the public health message isn't getting out there with the problems are instead we are too busy trying to verify your typical drugs, cocaine, heroin, marijuana as opposed to making sure that we educate people. >> host: i think that again we come back to this idea nancy reagan words of just say no to drugs.
the plan not in the book it's more than 3,000 percent increase in the amount of spending on the war on drugs between 1970 to 2011 with very little consequence in terms of depressing the amount of use of marijuana, heroin or cocaine. so by that measure, not much difference. but again from a parent's point of view do i really want my children to take the risk and say don't use this drug with that or know that this is cut with this do i want to educate them in this way if there is a risk it might say to them it's okay to use drugs. >> guest: if your parenting is centered primarily on drug education, and you are in trouble as a parent. you should be educating your kids about responsibility, about their future, about a wide range of things. it's focused on drug use, you are already in trouble. my parenting rarely focuses on
drug use and is making sure that my kids get into the proper college, make sure that there s.a.t. scores are where they need to be and that the understand responsibility and that the know how to write and communicate. if your parenting is focused on drugs, you are in trouble because the things i just described is prevention, not just this say no thing. if they are curious and want to know about drugs, teach it because if they do indulge, they will at least be safe because we know. my research, myself, my research i've given over 2,000 doses of these drugs so i know they can be given safely and administered safely. you don't have to look at buying research asked the one in the white house and before him and
before him even president kennedy he used amphetamines throughout his administration safely and we revere him and we think he's a contribution. so, this notion of drugs being sitting charness, it's misguided, and it's very limited that focus. >> host: is it possible people who are light weekend users of heroin or cocaine and you say this doesn't interfere with their ambition and their discipline, is that right? it seems to me almost counterintuitive if someone's using such strong cycle active drugs that they are a fully functional member of the community. >> guest: wins the strongest is nicotine but we don't make that statement that you made. so it requires a small amount of nicotine to have its effect and
there is like 1 milligram it wouldn't do anything for you. the notion that these are strong is a myth. >> host: so you think when i talk about alcohol and tobacco they may be more deleterious to my well-being than cocaine or heroin? >> guest: the thing we have to understand is that with education, we can enhance the positive affects of all of these drugs including alcohol, including cocaine and heroin. and with education we can decrease the negative effect. we have to understand yes, there are people who can use cocaine on a weekend, heroin on the weekend and go to work and pay their taxes. the question that you asked about palin and cocaine, just think about asking the same question for alcohol. are there people who can drink alcohol on the weekend and then
go to work on monday and be responsible individuals? knott yes but hell yes. the same is true of cocaine and heroin. >> host: even though again in the american public's mind those two drugs are far more powerful? >> guest: yes. the things in the american public mind sometimes are not right. the public as i said has been miseducated about drugs. >> host: the book is high-priced the journey of self discovery and that challenges everything you know about drugs and society what did you say? you have this platform on c-span. what is it that we should know? >> guest: we are talking about what we should know, the notion that most of the people that use the drugs are addicted.
not true. just like most of them do so and go to work. if you are going to use any drug use and understand that you should respect the fact they are potentially powerful substances. if you don't use drugs with that respect, you run the risk of getting in trouble. succumb if you know about the effects of the drugs that you were taking the new increase the likelihood then you will be safe. >> host: but where do you go for such information? >> guest: go to my book for one. one of the things when we think about the internet, it contains a lot of information that there is no quality control and that is a major concern. there are other books that have been written on the subject like we talked about earlier. i have a textbook on the subject in which we talk mainly about the biological effect of drugs on people.
but those kind of books are dry and the public gets bored. >> host: this is not a textbook in any way. it's largely your personal story and then talking about drug use in your life and research and combination. so when we are talking about drug use, for example, you mentioned that you have done cocaine over a period of time like twice a month with a girlfriend but it's not the case that if you ran out of cocaine you felt any compunction to get more or you are unable to function because you are using cocaine. instead you talk about larger motivational forces in our life and decide to succeed education and earn money and desire to have a letter that these are other forces. so let's transfer that to the
lab. you are working with rats and said in this book you have to take them out of this caged isolated environment and the many social environment and then you see that they make traces about drug use that doesn't leave them to kill themselves by constantly pushing a lever. when you're singing to americans and paddocks part of a normal life to be the guest, many of us have heard about the stories where if you allow an animal to self at minister a drug like cocaine, they will do so until they call themselves. many of us have heard that. what we don't hear is that those rats or animals are so isolated the only thing they could use take cocaine. and certainly if your life consisted of you being in this cage and the only thing available was cocaine, that is when you would do. now if you put another animal in
the cage, for example of the opposite sex, cocaine is no longer as attractive. if you put sweetwater, cocaine is no longer attractive. if you put a running we'll in near, cocaine is no longer attractive. so we have these alternatives in an alliance, and many of us do. it increases the impact or the attractiveness of cocaine or other drugs. we know this as other citizens we all know this if we have jobs we know we have to go to our jobs in order to get the respect and regard and all the rest of these things because if we don't, then we have nothing. sometimes drug use interferes with your ability to do your job, to get this positive regard and these sort of things so the cocaine may have to go. this certainly was the case in my life. >> host: tell us.
>> guest: tell us about -- >> host: in your life. >> host: >> guest: as you pointed out there was something experimenting with a girlfriend and i was fine. it didn't interfere with my work. i had a job something like ups. it didn't interfere but if it had, i wouldn't have done that because i know i was going somewhere, i have a future, and i wanted to go somewhere else because i knew if cocaine would have disrupted my ability to make money in that situation, i would no longer have a girlfriend. >> host: this is an interesting point when it let say that they had a drug-testing policy, and that would have cost you your job and all you felt you were doing was experimenting with a girlfriend. but in fact it had a dire consequences for your future much as we were talking about young men, especially young black men, marijuana, crack, what ever come high your arrest
even though they do more of the drug but it has a terrible consequences for their future. so in terms of public policy are you against drug testing? >> guest: yes i'm against drug testing, fifth amendment. i think that drug testing first of all tells you nothing about level of intoxication or the person at the moment. so, the thing that we are concerned about particularly in some sensitive jobs we don't want people to be intoxicated on the jobs. the best way to see if someone is intoxicated is to look at their behavior, not their urine because it tells you on siloed with nothing. for example if you had a beer or alcohol i could test your sweat and see whether or not you have alcohol metabolite but it does mean nothing about your ability to conduct this interview, absolutely nothing. that is essentially what we are doing with drug testing.
so, someone could have smoked marijuana a week ago and we test it and they are positive. it tells us nothing about their behavior currently. >> host: how would you then determine if i was a pilot or driver of a vehicle even a school teacher, how do you determine if this person is in fact of using drugs or is interfering in their capacity to perform the function that you are paying them? >> guest: du watch their performance just like when you are on tv or you write your books you look at the performance. if your performance is not up to par coming you don't keep the job. it's simple. the thing with the drug testing, it provides this false sense of security like you are doing something when in fact, you are not. it tells you nothing about the area of interest. i want to make sure people are performing and that they are doing their job. the drug testing doesn't tell you anything about that.
>> host: one of the interesting points that you make in the book with response to my argument on shouldn't we just tell kids don't do drugs coming you say that when you say that to a child they are being curious and tries drugs and then says well, my dad lied to me because i did drugs and it didn't make me go crazy and it doesn't ruin my performance in school. so the question then becomes one of honesty that he won the child to be able to believe you. okay, but the same time, the child may think i'm okay. but maybe as you were concerned about when you were a young person, if in fact decreases' still love all of your performance whether it is on the basketball court or in a classroom. how do you deal with that problem? >> guest: so if a child is using drugs and -- >> host: they say i feel fine but i'm doing okay but you see the child gets up later and it's not as interested in school and
performing as well in school how do you respond? >> guest: you respond as a parent. obviously if that is your child and they are not handling his work responsibilities, there should be consequences to that. that is what we do as parents. whether the child is not handling their responsibility as a result of drugs or as a result of some other peter malae activity, there are consequences. it's kind of symbol. they are not special in that way. >> host: they are because they could lead you to jail. >> guest: certainly. but that's different. when you're saying of course if we are worrying about the illegality, that's different the and so i tell my kids in terms of this like black people are more likely to be arrested for drugs. therefore if you ever use drugs you don't use them out there. you do that here because i'm worried about the police more so than anything else, so that is a different level of concern.
white parents don't have the same level of concern about the illegality of black parents do. and we have to understand that. >> host: but i think white pennants of course are worried about their children getting arrested. but you're saying in terms of ratio and statistics it is more likely for children of color to be impacted by the oppressed and the records and the damage to their future. >> guest: go where they are kept in new york city and there aren't any white kids there. we know that. >> host: in the book, again, so much of this book and it is called "high price in your scientists journey of self discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society," you talk about an episode of your youth and miami and you saw a man, a white man get shot and was in retaliation for shooting and then your sister gets shot and this is all drug related. so you understand the negative consequences that comes from people that think i can handle
drugs, no big deal. i am just a weekend the user. isn't that contradictory to what you're saying? it doesn't really damage anything. like my sister being shot, that wasn't drug-related, that was an adolescent beef some kids had. >> host: i thought there was a drug element to that. >> guest: he was there simply to buy marijuana. but then there was an incident that happened early in the day between some other white guys and black guys in my neighborhood so that was more race that this guy happened to be buying marijuana in the neighborhoods of the major problem here would be race. that was the issue, that was the tension of miami in 1980. >> host: but what i'm saying to you and it leads to the shooting of your sister but
drugs seem to be part of and this emphasizes the point you made in the book the larger social structure, poverty, abandonment, all of these issues can act as a catalyst. it can speed up negative reaction. >> or exacerbate problems, absolutely. >> host: that's why am thinking is it best to just say say no to drugs? >> guest: it would be best if you were white and middle class to say no to drugs because then we don't have to worry. they don't have to worry so much of the consequences of the environment that we have set up by just saying no because when you just say no, you act as if the drug itself is causing these problems so you set up this environment, police forces have to get rid of these drugs because we have said that they are awful and when in fact they
are not and the people who will pay the consequences are people who look like you and me primarily. so why can't accept that as a black person, as an educator it's just not consistent with telling people how to think. >> host: because people are going to try things? >> guest: because people are going to try things and we would like to decrease the harm -- >> host: you said if you are a white. it might make sense to say no to drugs but why would that not make sense if you were a black parent? >> guest: no, my point is that that same approach and if you take that single approach and you can be done with it. but when you take that single approach, there is also a -- there are also other actions that occurred so if we say just say no like we did with nancy reagan that means now that we have set up this whole entire environment where drugs are bad and we have to go after them at any cost and the cost of being
primarily in the back and unity that is all i was suggesting. i am not saying that a parent should say they shouldn't tell their kids they should use drugs or anything like that. i'm not suggesting that. >> host: you have referred to nicotine from cigarettes, alcohol as drugs. so, we don't have much discussion about that in this book. the question occurs what would you tell somebody given that there are americans that smoke cigarettes, drank alcohol more than marijuana, cocaine, heroin put together. so, what would you say to them about the intelligent use of those drugs? >> guest: we think about alcohol, moderate alcohol drinking and men and women has been associated with the improvement of health, a decrease partly and drugs and all these sort of things.
and besides a free society needs an intoxicant. if you try to ban alcohol, good luck because every society needs -- we did try it and it also has positive effects and enhances your memory and alertness and all the rest of these things. that is more problematic for me because of the potential for cancer and those sort of things but we still have to be mindful that the vast majority of people that smoke tobacco cigarette do not get cancer, they don't get those awful diseases. so why don't want to get crazy about that either. but i want people to understand
that there are potential consequences and there are also benefits. and people make these calculations where they we of the risk and benefit ratio of all the things they do whether it is living in new york city or smoking tobacco. >> host: in these cases when using to be cancelling his moderation and knowing what you're doing. is that similar to the way you view what we consider marijuana, cocaine and heroin? >> guest: that is a difficult question on the one hand there are illegal activities. so the short answer is absolutely. if you are going to be using these, know what you're doing. this is a whole different conversation we have been having about doing drugs.
when we talk about drugs we are adolescent about when we talk about drugs. but i'm trying to do is make sure we have a conversation which we treat people like they are intellectual adults and so yes if people are going to use them know what they are doing, and we should also know about the amount of the drug that you're using, moderation, they should know the negative side effect because all of these drugs have side effects. they should know everything about the drug. and if they do that, not only will they be improving their skills in this area they will also be improving their critical thinking skills. >> host: which as you say is an absolute requirement and you see that pretty clearly in the book. now, when you are looking at the psycho active of fact, the mind altering effect of drugs, which
would you say is the most dangerous? >> guest: it all depends on the user. if you are an older person and have cardiovascular drug issues you want to stay away from the amphetamines or those types of drugs. it depends on who we are talking about and what conditions we are talking about. so, there are a number of young people in the country who are taking amphetamines come adderall for attention deficit disorder much the same drug as methamphetamine. a number of people are doing so safely but you would not encourage younger people to take that same drug. so what might be safe for one group may not be safe for another. >> host: when it comes to this casual use, again your definition is that it does not
interfere with parenting, work or relationships. >> host: it is also the definition from the american psychiatric association what i described in the book. >> host: so when we are talking about addiction and people who become addicted, give me a description of who is at risk and why they are at risk. >> guest: that is a difficult one. one of the things americans have done that's inappropriate when we think about addiction is that we act as if the drug itself is special. addiction has less to do with the pharmacology of the drug and has a lot to do with whether or not people are plugged into society and whether or not they are responsible. a wide a range of factors play into the role but what we've done in the country is we have paid less attention to those things because it is less sexy
to talk about the fact that they were responsible before they started using drugs. this person was over indulging in a wide range of behaviors before drugs. so instead we've chosen to focus on is the biology of the individual. what did their brain look-alike? pimentel someone is addicted? not know what hell knows there is no evidence that would suggest that. that has an amount of protection rather than the things we know that are valuable, let's look at the person's environment. >> host: that's where you would go if you are dealing with an addict let's not simply in prison the person or punish the person, let's look at how we can restructure the environment. i think in the book you talk
about a drug user and the setting. here we are talking about in terms of trying to conduct remedial mediation for an addict you are saying look at the larger society and the environment and the setting for that individual. but if you can't come you can't give them to good parents or can't give them a good school or these people are highly frustrated because they are not succeeding in the work world what do you do with that person that finds they indulge in drugs to the point of addiction? >> guest: like you said we can't control every biddies environment and i don't know the answer, but we have to decide as a society, and i think that we have decided as a society we just prefer to lock them up that is a trace we have made and it's inappropriate. how about we see if we can give the person some job skills and see if we can give responsibility so they feel better about themselves?
how about if we do these kind of things so that at least we will be trying to make sure that they are paying taxes and they are contributing to the society? >> host: when we talk about drug policy right now in the united states, there is a number of states that are legalizing marijuana and a large debate about whether it should be national we legalized. what position do you come as a demuro scientist have on marijuana legalization? >> guest: there are only two states, washington and colorado. it's important to understand something about those states they are some of the widest states and the union and so when we think about marijuana legalization and other places that's more diverse, it isn't going to happen. and how i feel about marijuana legalization or legalization in general, i'd we should decriminalized all drugs first because we need to have a corresponding amount of education that goes along with
that before we make these things more widely available without corresponding education. and then i would predict that we are setting ourselves up for more problems. and so, if we are going to ultimately legalize, we need to increase education around drugs. that means we need to stop having police officers provide drug education and stop having politicians provide drug education. we need to make sure when people talk about drugs that we can ask the question deutsch those facts or that information, does the information have foundations of evidence? >> host: you're saying you don't want the politicians and the police talking about drug use and singing their indicators what scientists and physicians
talking about it as a drug educators'? >> guest: i don't even know because they also have a narrow focus on what they do because i want the public and i want people to be able to say to these folks the information you are relating to me they do they have conditions on evidence? >> host: use said colorado and washington are mostly white states so what does that have to do with a drug education? >> guest: that's something different of a drug legalization, i'm saying one of the reasons, so we legalize marijuana in part because you're worried about all of the drug arrests >> host: there are people who want to use it without a future of our rest. >> guest: right. so, one of the -- some of the fuel that is pushing this is the large number of marijuana arrests and regional disparity.
for example there is a new report that cannot today by the aclu, and they show nationwide that black people were four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana even though they used the drug at the same rate as white folks. so much of the fuel is being -- it is racial disparity. and what i am saying is that even though that is the case, the states in which there are large populations of black people, there are no movements to legalize marijuana. >> host: and that's because -- >> guest: i don't think will happen in the states that have large numbers of black people. >> guest: >> host:. most are in the southern part of the country. and overwhelmingly dominated on the national level by republican conservative politicians who i think our less likely to be open
to the idea of drug legalization. are you suggesting that black politicians who are resistant to this? i didn't think so. i have a prediction that in the states that have large numbers of black folks -- >> host: because white people are afraid that blacks would get intoxicated and act out? what are you saying? >> guest: actually i don't know that played as well. i will just move on to the >> host: but you think -- do you oppose or support marijuana legalization as we are seeing it in colorado? >> guest: i support. i support whatever the voters vote for. i think it's a good move by the state of colorado and washington. and i am happy to see that they are pushing the envelope and they are forcing the
conversation. >> host: but you said earlier in our conversation you are not in favor of drug legalization. what you are in favor of is the decriminalization. but you're saying it's okay to legalize marijuana. >> guest: you asked me was i in favor. i support the voters and i am happy that they pushed the envelope you ask me what we should as a country we should decriminalize all drugs. not legalize that's a different but i support washington and colorado. >> host: what if this was a movement to legalize cocaine would you feel the same way? >> guest: i would feel the same way but i would encourage the american people please come and get some proper education on these drugs. >> host: when you hear about public instances, like for the disabled the celebrated case of
trayvon martin in your home state there's an argument of a man up 16 are 17 when he died, he had used marijuana. should that be allowed into the court proceedings when it comes time to evaluate what he was. >> guest: it is written about the negro cocaine fema so one of the things that the defense is so adamant about bringing in trayvon martin's drug use history is because they are playing on the perceptions of drug users. by the way i try to point out in the book they are wrong. but they are counting on those perceptions in such that people will see trayvon martin as a drug user and then they will conjure up all of these images about drug users that are
incorrect. so it infuriates me that this becomes an issue. >> host: especially for a young man of color. >> guest: a young black man. let's be specific. >> host: you think if it were latino it would be less damage? >> guest: it's not just that it's just the characteristic is raised whether they are black or latino as an ethnicity the characteristic is race and not so much what they speak. do you understand what i'm saying? host koza you think it's color but again its blackness. >> guest: absolutely. i think that's important. the darker the skin, the neighborhood, all the rest. not to say that obviously in new york city we arrest a lot of hispanic and black folks. but i think in this case i'm asking you just to be specific
we are talking about trayvon martin, who is black. we could talk about in the bronx this kid was killed by a police officer that killed him in his bathroom and he was blacked, because he thought he had marijuana on him. i'm just asking you to be specific. the term person of color it's okay but we are talking about trayvon martin. you and i both know he's a black guy. >> host: in the history of the united states you think about the chinese being caricatured as opium users, right? and again, you think about the latino community and all a bunch of cocaine fiends. >> guest: i'm sorry. i'm not familiar with that one.
>> host: you can even think of scarred face, the movie, as having evidence of that. >> guest: but when we think about things like sar face, we didn't pass new laws as a result of like a scar face in the 80's. in the 1980's when i grew up, but we did pass the law about crack cocaine when we saw the images. but his scarred face was a cuban immigrant who came here. there were no new laws. >> host: your argument is if so many of these laws they are really directed against black people? >> guest: it's not only my argument, the evidence is there. >> host: the most i think prominent argument in support of your case would be the argument about the disparity in sentencing for powder cocaine
verses crack cocaine. and again, the point being cracked cocaine -- i'm going to try to hold your line nod just poor people, but black people versus felker cocaine used by white people. >> guest: so the data that white people use more cocaine, but there is a perception black people were using crack cocaine at greater rates and so the perception drove with the law enforcement efforts were placed. >> host: going back to your argument, professor if you are introducing cocaine had a law firm among people that have prominent status, family, and come verses introducing it into a community where there is large skill this function in terms of poverty, racism, oppression, i could go on, it seems to me there is going to be a different
result. >> guest: we talked about this earlier where drugs or any other elected the can exacerbate all those problems. >> host: live in de you say to the society that you are wrong to try to crack down on a community where it is going to have a more devastating impact? >> guest: i would say you are wrong to crack down in terms of drug policy. singling out drugs faugh is the reason for the problems you have to be yet it's less of a problem than employment. education, all these other things are far greater. >> host: what i know living in washington, d.c.. people pop up in crack houses in your community depresses the value of real-estate and drives away retail sales and small stores and makes the community
less attractive and they say you know what maybe i should move out of here so those are very negative effect. i would rather not see drugs come into my community whole scale. that's why -- >> guest: wait, wait, wait. who would? nobody wants to see them come into their community whole scale and that wouldn't happen. that is and what we want. that isn't what i'm arguing. i mean -- >> host: you said in terms of social policy that in terms of social policy it shouldn't be directed simply and by saying i think they are more vulnerable and can be destabilized when you get drug dealers trying to plant their flag in the communities they become the most prominent personalities. >> guest: first of all what you make sure that people that have jobs and people have
meaningful employment, education -- drug dealers are not the most prominent people in the community. >> host: if that's the case but if you go in to poor black neighborhoods coming yes there is a dearth of jobs come absence of the educational and economic opportunity. that is a fact the the new introduced drugs and it can blow the deal up. that is overly simplistic. when you say to the crack houses and the drug houses we have to do our job as police officers. you make sure people aren't breaking the law you still do that but the consequences of catching people shouldn't be so dire that of their lives are ruined as a result of being caught. all of this undercover activity that we do at the police, we don't need that. if someone is speeding in their
car and you see a police officer, you slow down as opposed to some police officer hiding where you knew the person is hiding said they continue to speed. so police officers do their job. that's number one. and you make sure that people have an opportunity for meaningful employment. >> host: but what i'm saying to you is if you are a drug dealer and you are looking for a vulnerable population to exploit and sell drugs to. i would think you'd go to a vulnerable poor community to do. >> guest: this is a mess. like i'm a drug dealer and i want to make some lawyers, so i'm going to go to the poorest place i can go to. that's not what works. we thought for a sample that these kids in the streets of d.c. and in miami, my friends, me included thought that they were making all this money, they
were. the notion that these kids are making money they were not making money. and this notion that somehow they are the most appealing folks in the community, they are only appealing if there is no other alternative more attractive. >> host: that comes back to why they choose the communities because they can be suddenly the super hero, the one that has the most money, the one that is provide is sneakers -- >> guest: my point is that communities have no money. some drug dealers cannot survive if the community doesn't have any money. so, -- >> host: the drug dealers in fact can develop markets on people who are vulnerable, meaty, feeling as if they are left out by the larger society. >> guest: i assure you there are white folks coming to the community by drugs if they're